The New England Patriots' quarterback competition between rookie Mac Jones and veteran Cam Newton continued Thursday night in the preseason opener against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium.
Both Jones and Newton had good moments but neither player was amazing. Newton started the game, which wasn't a huge surprise. Jones ended up playing a couple more drives than Newton but faced mostly backups on Washington's defense. The Patriots scored three field goals when Newton and Jones were leading the offense.
New England ultimately won 22-13 after two fourth quarter touchdowns.
Here's how Jones and Newton fared in the preseason opener.
Newton played the first two offensive drives of the game. The first series ended when Washington's star defensive end Chase Young beat Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn and hit Newton in the pocket. The Patriots went 54 yards on nine plays during Newton's second drive, which ended with a field goal by Quinn Nordin to give New England a 3-0 lead.
Jones played the next five drives, with most of that action coming against Washington's second- and third-string players on defense. However, his first drive was with the Patriots' starters and a combination of starters and backups on Washington's defense. Jones completed two of his five pass attempts on that first drive. One of those attempts was ruled incomplete even though replays showed Jakobi Meyers actually caught it, but the Patriots chose not to challenge. Another one of the incompletions almost went for a 34-yard touchdown.
Jones played four more drives and at one point completed 11 consecutive passes. Most of them were short completions, though. His night ended with the Patriots leading 9-7 late in the third quarter.
It's hard to analyze Jones' performance too deeply given the lack of quality competition he faced, but the Patriots were able to see how he handled penalties, getting hit and other forms of adversity. Jones did a nice job in that regard.
Patriots fans were very excited to see Jones get his first taste of NFL action.
Here's a look at Jones' first completion of the game.
Jones' accuracy was impressive on a couple of his throws, including this strike to pick up a first down:
The Patriots' resume preseason action next Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Before that matchup, the Eagles will host the Patriots for a couple of joint practices next week. Those practices will be an important part of the Patriots' QB competition with Jones and Newton getting quality reps against real competition.